Hospital Gambling on EHR

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I caught this story on the news and was surprised at first, but then on second thought I realized it’s not that surprising given the state of our rural hospitals in many areas.  I’m sure many hospitals might have to make tough decisions just like Sac-Osage Hospital in Missouri. 

A few details about Sac-Osage Hospital:

  • 47 bed hospital
  • Spending $1 million to move to an Electronic Health Record (EHR)
  • Operating on a $370,000 deficit
  • Hoping the Obama Stimulus Package will help make this change profitable in 2011
  • E.R. and ambulance services facing closure of services depending on whether or not local voters approve property tax

Sac-Osage has an average census of 5 inpatients per day, so obviously they will have difficulty raising revenuSac-Osage Hospitale to cover this large of an expense.  However, they are looking into the future, hoping that they will meet the criteria of “meaningful use” of the EHR as stated in the Obama stimulus package, and then receive some unknown amount of the stimulus money that will help offset the costs.

Some might say it is risky, but if they don’t do it now, they will not have enough time to prepare for the stimulus package and starting 2015, healthcare providers who haven’t made the switch may face financial penalties.  Whether Sac-Osage Hospital decided to take action or continue as is, the future of their facility is unforeseeable at this time.    

If you are interested in the full story, click here: http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_16052/contentdetail.htm;jsessionid=93CF354D45905A0D57914503C657E091?full=true&contentguid=LUV8siO4&detailindex=#display

What do you think about this?

If you were a small rural hospital in the same situation, would you bite the bullet and take the chance on an EHR in hopes it will be worth it in the end, or would you continue operating the same way and plan to make the change to an EHR later on down the road when/if you can afford it?

Please, feel free to share your thoughts!

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4 Responses to “Hospital Gambling on EHR”

  1. clearman Says:

    Lot’s of the hospitals I work with are facing similar situations…thanks for the post!!

  2. Michael Taylor Says:

    “If you were a small rural hospital in the same situation, would you bite the bullet and take the chance on an EHR in hopes it will be worth it in the end, or would you continue operating the same way and plan to make the change to an EHR later on down the road when/if you can afford it?”

    I would. In that situation I believe it’s best to be proactive rather than inactive. I fear it’s a tough situation to get out of. They are hoping on a lot of things going right. I am going to keep my ear to the ground on this. I am interested in the outcome.
    Take care.

  3. ThinksClear13 Says:

    Hi Michael! I think I would do the same… If they don’t do anything, they will face the consequences later on down the road with fines that will put them in just as bad a situation. It’s good they are being pro-active. I just hope the government sees that when they determine if the EHR was for “meaningful use”.

  4. WorriedMT Says:

    This is scary to me because I feel that my profession (medical transcription) is in danger of becoming extinct. I have heard of doctors who do not like EMR because it takes twice as long as dictating a report. Thanks feds for putting my career and my livelihood in jeopardy!!

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